Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Formatting in the Digital Age - Jules Older writes.........


Formatting in the Digital Age

Last week, a student in my Writing For Real class asked this question: “What’s the best format to submit an article?”

In the Gutenberg Era, the answer was easy: double space, wide margins, single side, paginate. Delivered by mail.

But I told her that in the Digital Age, I no longer knew the answer. So I queried nearly all the editors I know. Here are the big takeaways:

Today, formatting is considerably less important. While you'll always improve your odds by submitting clean copy, variations in spacing, numbering, margins, and all that are not usually deal breakers.

The exception to this laissez fair is spacing between sentences. Use one space, not two.

Next, while the only material of submission used to be the printed page and the only delivery system, the Post Office, today, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, WordPress and more vie for prominence. And email is the preferred means of delivery.

Finally, but of primo importance, the quality of your writing is the key factor in deciding if your piece will reach the eyes of readers (now on phones, pads, computers as well as the printed page) or doom your effort to the trash. Yes, including the digital trash.

There ya go.


And a very pleasant PS: My review of Lifeguard Michael Finkel’s latest book appears in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Here's the link:

If you were advising a writer on what not to write about, you might have said something like this to Michael Finkel: “Let me get this straight …”

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